As the highly-anticipated Apple Vision Pro is set to make its debut on February 2, developers are diligently getting their apps ready for the mixed-reality headset.
According to a reliable source, approximately 250 apps with native support for visionOS have already been submitted to Apple.
Native Support Enhances Immersion
Apps that natively support visionOS can harness the full potential of “spatial” design elements, providing users with a more immersive experience. In addition to Apple’s own applications, several well-known third-party apps are poised to offer native support for visionOS right from the launch date.
Notable Third-Party Apps Supporting visionOS at Launch
Among the prominent third-party apps ready to embrace visionOS at launch are Airmail, Box, CARROT Weather, Fantastical, Facades, JigSpace, MUBI, Night Sky, OmniPlan 4, Parcel, PCalc, Red Bull TV, Sky Guide, Tides, Webex, Zoom, and many others, as indicated by data compiled by app analytics firm Appfigures.
Microsoft is also making a significant contribution to the visionOS ecosystem with a variety of native visionOS apps, including Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Teams. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith shared images from the App Store that suggest native apps for Crunchyroll, J.Crew, LEGO Builder’s Journey, Lowe’s, and more are in the works.
Expanded App Selection
In addition to native apps, Vision Pro users will automatically have access to iPhone and iPad apps, unless a developer chooses to opt out using the App Store Connect tool.
This means that more than one million apps will be readily available for the headset upon its launch.
Last week, Apple unveiled a selection of entertainment apps that will be accessible on the Vision Pro at launch. These apps include Disney+, ESPN, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, Max, Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, IMAX, and TikTok. Some of these apps will be natively supported, while others will function as compatible iPad apps.
Disney+, for instance, will natively support the Vision Pro and offer users an array of 3D movies to enjoy on the headset, including titles like Avatar: The Way of Water, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Elemental, and Encanto.
Disney’s press release stated, “At launch, viewers can transform their space into one of four Disney+ environments, bringing them even closer to the story,” promising animations, sounds, and delightful surprises for fans.
Notable Absences and Uncertainties
However, some popular apps, such as Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube, will not offer Vision Pro-compatible apps at launch, according to Bloomberg. Users can still access these services via Safari.
It remains unclear whether Meta-owned apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp, will be accessible on the headset at launch.
With roughly two weeks remaining until the Vision Pro’s official launch, developers still have time to prepare their apps, so more additions to the lineup are expected in the near future.
IKEA launches AI-powered home design creative
IKEA Australia has introduced IKEA Kreativ, a groundbreaking AI-powered mixed-reality experience aimed at revolutionizing home furnishing design for its customers.
The free application offers a seamless and intuitive platform for individuals to envision and recreate their living spaces like never before.
IKEA Kreativ empowers users to scan their living spaces and effortlessly experiment with different furniture arrangements and décor options.
With the ability to erase existing items and seamlessly integrate IKEA products, customers can explore various styling ideas or start fresh using interactive pre-loaded showrooms, numbering over 50.
Inspiration to design
The immersive design experience provided by IKEA Kreativ enables customers to confidently transition from inspiration to design to purchase, offering a realistic preview of how IKEA furniture and accessories will look, fit, and function within their homes.
Accessed via the IKEA app or online at ikea.com.au, IKEA Kreativ utilizes state-of-the-art visual AI technology, akin to that employed in self-driving cars, to generate lifelike 3D models of real home spaces.
This innovation represents a significant investment by IKEA in digital technologies, further exemplified by its recent acquisition of Geomagical Labs, a Silicon Valley AI company specializing in photorealistic virtual and mixed reality.
Giovanni Rutigliano, IKEA Australia Digital Manager, emphasized the company’s commitment to providing a seamless omnichannel experience for customers. He stated, “With the addition of Kreativ to the IKEA app, we’re offering our customers the opportunity to confidently design and shop the products straight from their mobile device.”
Christine Gough, IKEA Australia Interior Design Leader, highlighted the democratizing potential of IKEA Kreativ in home design. She expressed, “IKEA Kreativ can really break down barriers to having new ideas, designing, decorating and shopping for home furnishings, where people can feel the magic of the IKEA physical stores, through a virtual space.”
Key features of IKEA Kreativ include the ability to quickly explore design ideas from existing showrooms, scan and replicate one’s own space using the IKEA Kreativ Scene Scanner™, and seamlessly save, share, and purchase design concepts.
Lockbit cybercrime gang faces global takedown and arrests
In a major operation led by Britain’s National Crime Agency and the FBI, members of the notorious Lockbit ransomware gang have been arrested and indicted.
The United States has charged two Russian nationals for deploying Lockbit ransomware against numerous companies and groups worldwide, while police in Poland and Ukraine have made two additional arrests.
The joint efforts of the NCA, U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, and Europol culminated in the disruption of the Lockbit gang, which has targeted over 2,000 victims globally, amassing over $120 million in ransom payments and demanding hundreds of millions more, according to the DOJ.
The NCA Cyber Division, in collaboration with U.S. authorities, seized control of Lockbit’s websites and infrastructure, even utilizing the gang’s own website to release internal data about the group.
Graeme Biggar, director general of the NCA, declared, “We have hacked the hackers… Lockbit is effectively redundant. Lockbit has been locked out.”
The unsealed indictment, obtained in New Jersey, charges Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev with deploying Lockbit ransomware against victims across various industries globally.
Operation Cronos, as the takedown was named, involved an international coalition of 10 countries.
It resulted in arrests, indictments, and sanctions against perpetrators, as well as unprecedented access to Lockbit’s systems, the NCA revealed.
Ransomware, like that employed by Lockbit, encrypts data and extorts payment from victims for decryption.
Lockbit’s affiliates, recruited by the gang, conduct attacks and share ransom proceeds, usually in cryptocurrency.
SpaceX strengthens ties with U.S. spy agencies
Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, has deepened its involvement with U.S. spy and military agencies, transitioning from a commercial rocket launcher to a significant player in national security operations.
The company’s recent $1.8 billion classified contract with the U.S. government underscores this shift, according to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal, though the identity of the government client remains undisclosed.
The expanding collaboration between SpaceX and national security entities reflects the increasing reliance of the latter on SpaceX’s capabilities.
SpaceX has a history of launching classified and military satellites, with recent contracts including providing broadband services to the Pentagon, notably during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
One aspect of SpaceX’s operations that has received less public attention is its Starshield unit, tailored for government clients and led by former Air Force personnel.
Starshield secured a $70 million military contract last August for providing communication services to numerous Pentagon partners, operating largely under the radar.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, emphasised the close collaboration between the company and the intelligence community, albeit without disclosing specific details, during an event last May.
While specific details of Starshield’s activities remain guarded, SpaceX has described its offerings as encompassing secure communications satellites, Earth observation capabilities, and sensor deployment for government use while in orbit.
Job postings for Starshield have sought individuals with top-secret clearances and experience within the Defense Department and intelligence community.
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